During the last several months, an endless trail of flatbed trucks have shipped hay to the parched portions of Texas. I’ve seen it on I-10, I-20, and even our state highways. Word is that they’re selling these large round hay bales for $100-150 each in Texas. They’re buying them for $25-50 each from areas blessed with adequate rainfall.
I’ve been thinking about this: Is this gouging or simply meeting a need through our American free enterprise system?
That’s a good question. The thought took me back to 2005 and Hurricane Rita. SW Louisiana was dealt a knockout blow by Katrina’s little sister. We lost electrical power and water for an extended period. It was hot, everything was in short supply, and people were desperate.
About a week after the storm, an 18-wheeler arrived near Elizabeth. It was loaded with generators supposedly from Michigan. They sold them off the back of the truck for $1200 each.
People lined up and paid cash for these generators that would’ve normally retailed for $600. The ones who bought a generator were happy to get them. It allowed families to at least run fans and have minimal lighting and appliances.
Was this price gouging or meeting a need?
I’d be interested to hear your comments on this.